This piece was a long time coming: I initially began playing with these small (approx. 2.25″ square) scrap plates at a photogravure workshop at PNCA, which was also my first experience working with intaglio printing. I initially etched them using a photogram technique, using the shadows cast by various found objects (such as doilies, the spiral binding from a notebook, and pieces of a broken window screen) to expose the patterns on to a photosensitive film, which was then transferred and etched into the plates.
Fast forward several months, when I was taking introductory intaglio classes at PCC Sylvania, and added to my “tiny plate” collection, this time experimenting with soft ground and sugar lift techniques. At this point, I had a collection of 15 or so of these plates, but as my instructor pointed out, there was nothing (other than their size) that allowed them to successfully hold together as a collection.
As I pondered how to unite them, I noticed one of the commonalities was that they all featured textures or patterns created by found objects that were either landfill-bound or natural artifacts (like bark and dried grass). In the wake of creating Successful weeds, I was also thinking about humans’ (often failed) attempts to control their environments, and from there the resulting image, complete with creepy-crawly ants, was born!
Update: I’m happy to announce that this piece won the Best Printmaking award in the Closing the Distance virtual exhibition hosted by Portland Community College!
This piece is currently unavailable for purchase. I don’t currently have access to a printing press due to COVID-related closures, but as soon as I can, I will create an edition and make it available here!